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Blissed out on Agrari Beach, Mykonos

Posted on Jun 20, 2013 in Mykonos | 1 comment

Agrari Beach in Mykonos, Greece

Thanks to our friend, an experienced Mykonos traveller, we know to bypass the beaches called “Paradise” and “Super Paradise” with their thumping music and party scene, to get to our favourite, Agrari Beach. It’s pretty empty at this time of year, no music is blasting, it’s clothing optional, and there is a great cafeteria style restaurant with great grilled food and other Greek delicacies. My limited colour palette is really off, by the way. The water is a deep turquoise and azure blue, but I don’t have those colors, and my attempts at mixing them have been unsuccessful so far. I’ll happily keep trying.

L. was worried that Mykonos would not be the same as it was on his long ago visits in the late 80s/early 90s, that he would be disappointed, that his happy memories of it would be overwritten like old data. None of this has been the case. In fact, I have never seen my lovable but curmudgeonly friend happier. This makes the rest of us happy, plus he knows how things work here: where the best beaches are, how to get to them, which restaurants have the freshest grilled seafood, and how to speak a bit of Greek — at least he can wing it, since he studied Ancient Greek. So it’s an easy trip for us thanks to our friend playing tour guide.

It’s worth describing how the beaches work on Mykonos. Many beaches are served by a small boat, called a caïque, which holds about 12 people and quickly putters up onto each sandy beach with its front where an attached ladder allows quick off-on access. The caïque comes around about once an hour, and you can hop on or off at any beach you like for €3.50. The ride to or from “our beach” takes about 45 minutes. You sit anywhere on deck in the sun and enjoy a blissful sail on the Aegean Sea. On the way back, we sail towards the early evening sun. I have some of my happiest and most peaceful moments when I am on a boat, looking out at the sea, whether that’s in the Greek Islands or the Gulf Islands.

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40 hours in Athens

Posted on Jun 20, 2013 in Athens | 4 comments

Athens and Mykonos

The new Acropolis Museum was a great way to spend a few hours out of the heat in a beautiful air-conditioned architectural space surrounded by ancient Greek artifacts and views of the Acropolis.

On our first morning walking the streets of Athens, my friend L. got hit by bird poop. It bounced right off his smoothly shaved head and onto my arm. This is known as collateral bird damage or among birds, as “hitting two humans with one dropping”. We decided it was good luck, but that bird looked rather smug to me.

There are 4 of us travelling: Jeff and I with another couple, G. and L. It’s L.’s 50th birthday this summer, and to celebrate properly, he wanted to go back to Mykonos where he used to come in his 20s when he had hair. Jeff and I were the only ones able to coordinate our vacation time and budget with them, so we made the huge sacrifice of switching our original plan to go camping in B.C. with an island vacation in Greece.

I made a new friend, a young Greek woman running a bakery where we bought some pastries for breakfast. During our conversation, I told her I was going to Mykonos and would be sketching it, then she wanted to see my sketches, so I showed her my sketchbook and gave her my website. She was so impressed, she ran off with my sketchbook to show it to her husband in the back, and then gave me a pastry. Once again, sketching connects. And my breakfast was probably the best spanakopita I ever had.


There was a display on how the ancient Greeks made their pigments for painting marble sculptures. Various rocks were ground and mixed with binding agents to create coloured compounds. As a sketcher, of course I was fascinated by this side display.


I liked Athens, what little I saw in a day and a half through a jet lagged haze and 35+ degree heat. The Acropolis was awe-inspiring, of course. I did not know there were other temples up there besides the famous and gigantic Parthenon. My favourite temple became the Erechtheion, which has two smaller temples attached to it.


The old district of Athens, called Plaka, was a maze of narrow streets full of touristy shops and restaurants. Cold refreshments became very important at that point. I had a wonderful fig gelato, not too sweet and full of fresh fig flavour.


Graffiti in Athens.


Graffiti in Athens.


Street name in Athens. Graffiti and vernacular typography are what I am often drawn to in cities.


We watched the changing of the guards ceremony in downtown Athens, featuring pom-pommed red shoes combined with a gait right out of John Cleese’s “Ministry of Funny Walks” skit.

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